Posts Tagged ‘DC’

Time Warp

Posted: 1 February 2010 in observations
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Today I looked at the clock and it was, disappointingly, only 2:00.  2pm which is practically 8am.  And it was Monday, which really, is as bad as a Sunday night on the 1st of February which, for all it matters, might as well be a year without summer.

February is my least favorite month because it sucks all the hope out of spring and spits it on the pavement.  The icy, awful pavement.

I tried to think positively about this weekend’s (and next weekends) snowy freeze. But even rationalizing that the melting water will be good for the plants doesn’t help because that reminds me that nothing good is coming back this year. Hostas, yes, and ivy, but they might as well be weeds. Useless weeds, not even healing weeds.

I miss my old house where my friends lived next door and bluebells and bleeding hearts surged every summer. and someone else shoveled the damn walk.

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No, no shoveling yet.  And, regardless of whether you’re calling it snowmageddon or snowpocolypse, it really is a lot of snow.  My only experience with this much snow at once was in Chicago in 1979 when I was barely old enough to remember.  The national weather service says they got 18 inches that January, though this description might be more accurate.  There is a picture of me sitting level with the top of a stop sign that weekend after plowing and I haven’t seen such dramatic snowfall since.

It’s still snowing (though less) and we’re just shy of 24 inches.  24.  Two feet.  That doesn’t seem like so much when you’re just thinking about it, but it means that cars are suggestions in a drift and if you stand in a dip, you’re up to your waist.  Charlottesville is a Southern city unaccustomed to snowfall.  On the plus side – everyone seems to be staying in (unlike DC where thousands of uninitiated snow drivers take to the highways at the first flake and stay out there til they crash and die).  On the minus side – there aren’t actually any plows.  More…tractors with plow attachments.

Tomorrow – shoveling.

It seems a little unreal that domestic partners employed by the federal government will have some benefits.  I have confidence that, eventually, it will as illegal to discriminate against gay individuals as it is to discriminate based on age or gender.  There’s no perfect world and discrimination still happens to all kinds of people all the time, but I look forward to the day when it isn’t sanctioned by the government.

For a second, I thought I might regret leaving the State Department in light of this change and the almost certain extension of more benefits by the Secretary of State.  But I don’t.  I don’t regret leaving for a second.  It was no longer the right job and the limited benefits wouldn’t make up for that.  Unfortunately, I’m confident that the good state of Virginia is unlikely to get on the progressive bandwagon anytime soon.

The whole thing leaves me feeling a little hopeless and unsettled.  It seems like no one is able to make change.  The President says it’s beyond his ability to change and if left to the general public, I’m afraid a vote would be to maintain the status quo.

At Capital Pride Sunday I watched a man my age walking with his pretty wife, their young baby and the baby’s grandmother tell his family that they could not use the restrooms in the area because (hushed whisper) “Look at that sign” (pointing to Pride banner) “we can’t go over there”.  I couldn’t tell if he was afraid they might catch something, sheer discrimination, or fear that we might tar and feather them.  Seperate toilets.  Great.

Prideful

Posted: 19 June 2006 in DC, joy, observations, queerlife
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It was hot and humid and sticky in Baltimore this weekend.  It was the type of day when dirt clings to your skin just by being near the ground.  Gnats and flies don’t even land on you for fear of getting stuck in the layer of humid grime on your ankles and behind your knees.  Although I’ve been to celebrations in DC, San Francisco, San Diego, Sao Paulo and even Tucson, until today we hadn’t been to Pride in Baltimore.  I’m always amazed at the individual character of every event – all of them have been different and Baltimore seemed very family-oriented and geared toward a slightly older crowd.  It was a pleasant change from the leather and chains, tiny butch girl paradise of DC Pride.  We actually missed DC this year as we were recovering from West of the Mississippi jetlag and I didn’t realize how much I missed the one time each year that D. and I could kiss freely in public (more than pecks) and hold hands (more than fleetingly) and generally feel comfortable being in a world, for a moment, where we weren’t in the minority.  D. performed at the event, a short set but tight, well-sung and very professional.  I felt proud to be watching her, to listen to her, to sing along with her (which I clearly can’t do in bars or our living room!), to watch other people listening to her voice and watching her sing.  I felt so flattered when she came out from backstage and kissed me (!) over all of the other people she could have been there with.  I remember everyday how much I love her, but I forget how proud I am to be with her.

Deep Fried Twinkies

Posted: 18 August 2005 in DC, other folks, queerlife
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D and I went to the county fair yesterday. I’m a county fair girl from way back. My mother used to drag us through stinking barns to see the award winning hens and prize hogs. We didn’t get to go on many rides, whether that was because of the cost or the danger, I don’t know. So mostly, we oohed and ahhed over the best stitched vest and the brownest, biggest eggs; exclaimed over perfect flower arrangements; and, hoped that in return, she’d let us go on a ride, any ride.

For a few years in my middle childhood, there were no county fairs to go to, because it was too hot or too expensive or too commercial. But, when I got to school in northern Arizona, we were suddenly back with the sort of people who can put on a county fair in the way they were meant to be put on: heavy on the ROTC, heavy on the boy scouts, heavy on the down home. And, we discovered the delight of a demolition derby.

I had a string of useless cars in college (or a string of bad luck) and as a result, I knew the drivers at the local towing company on a first name basis. They gave me a volume discount and in return, my family cheered on their drivers at the local demolition derby. For ten years (No, it didn’t take me that long to graduate! I have two sisters.), my family rooted for Joe and Sue and their cars sponsored by the towing company. And, up until my parents bought a house in Wyoming, there was always talk of going back to the Coconino County Fair for family reunions, instead of doing more conventional celebrations.

Living overseas, I sorely missed the basic smash-em-up draw of the demolition derby and was thrilled to find a real live county fair in Virginia. However, unlike the fairs of my mainly Western youth, this fair was Southern born, Southern bred. In fact, this fair nodded back to the fairs Ray Bradbury conceived in Something Wicked This Way Comes. The midway was garishly bright, the game hawkers had their sharp patter down to a science, luring in all sorts to give up a dollar for a shot at some milk bottles, and the rides squeaked and whirled while bored operators passively looked on. I was fascinated by the dunking booth and clown inside. A stream of insults flew perfectly from inside the booth as frustrated teenagers plowed baseballs around the target. He poked fun at their hair (nappy, he said) and at their relationships (you boys lovers, he asked) at their birthplace (rednecks, he heckled) and at everything about them. A crowd drew steadily all night and uneasy applause combusted each time someone sank him. As much as I wanted to stay to listen to his eerily cruel, easy banter and carnival-gone-wrong laugh, I also wanted to get away. There was a mob brewing in the crowd and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been the first time the clown watched a riot from the safety of his box.

I got several snapshots of unlikely t-shirts and D and I consumed our fair share of awful for you county fair cuisine. And, we were able to fulfill one of my most simple dreams: to just once in my life eat a deep-fried twinkie. Oh, dear reader, it was more than I had ever dreamed.

Bonus points if you, too, have indulged in deep fried twinkies while wiping sticky cotton candy from your cheeks.

DB @ the PL

Posted: 12 August 2005 in DC
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If you’ve ever watched CSI, or any other cop show for that matter, you know that a DB is a dead body. Whenever cops find one lying around they always say, tersely, “We’ve got a DB here”. Then they give all sorts of identifying information about the poor chap. In this case, we’ve got a DB at the public library. He’s lying on the grass, in the shade, almost as if he were deeply into the latest James Patterson thriller. Cops are milling about, looking professional, but there aren’t flashing cameras, no fancy CSI painted vehicles, nothing happening really, except for blue uniformed officers standing around a white male. A rather chubby one, at that. Oh, I hope the belly isn’t a result of the hot sun and… ugh. Why do I even go there?

At any rate, this makes my third official DB to have died under traumatic circumstances. Isn’t that too many for one lifetime? On the other hand, I’m not sure if I’m more disturbed by that, or the fact that we were all just sort of using the library, while a dead man lay just out front. I felt awkward about it and didn’t stay long. Can’t blame me, can you?

Hypocrisy

Posted: 18 April 2005 in bitter old woman, DC, queerlife
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We spent the weekend thick in the grip of suburbia at a flower and garden street festival. It was packed with young couples looking at potted plants, pushing baby strollers, tugging pretty red toddler-filled wagons, and sipping lemonade. We took it all in, after all, it was a beautiful day, I love to garden and my little sister, who is the straightest straight girl ever, was with us. What I didn’t understand was that there were so many thirty – something lesbian couples. They were everywhere – some hauling their own kids, or pregnant, some standing just a little too close as they walked, some wearing visors, birkenstocks and horribly not stylish clothes. They were invisible to the straight eye, I imagine. After all, the official state outfit of Virginia lesbians is camouflage. Not the brown and green spotty sort, but the blend and don’t notice me brand.

But, this is a bloody red state. It’s a southern state, despite its location on the map, and beyond conservative. Even the liberal heavy portion near the capitol is outweighed and overwhelmed by the rest of the heavily religious, fundamentalist, narrow rest of the state. I don’t understand why so many lesbians live here. I understand that they might live near-in to the government buildings, but out there in suburbia? Part of me rages that they have no excuse. That they should take a stand, and take their kids out of Virginia. Why do they give their tax dollars to this state? Why do they stay when they could be kept out of the hospital when their partner is sick? Denied the insurance if she dies? Their kids could be taken? Why stay in a place where your relationship will never be recognized and your civic leaders are making every effort to keep you from having the same rights as your neighbor?

Of course, I live here, thirty – something, coupled, and very very queer, so I gripe here with the understanding that I’m a hypocrite. Obviously, I wish I could live in some sort of gay utopia. Massachusetts, perhaps. Vancouver. But, D and I work in DC and in August, I’ll be working in Virginia and so we live here. It isn’t as if we don’t know that Maryland is much more forgiving, but it isn’t as close as you think it might be and we’re one of thousands of people who work in DC and commute from another state daily. I want to move to Maryland – both as a way to live in a more welcoming place and silently point out to Virginia that they shouldn’t get anything from me if they can’t make it a hospitable place for me to live. In fact, it twists inside of me that I can’t do the right thing. I’m having trouble reconciling convenience, complacency, predictability, familiarity, and, right now, happiness, with my values. It’s not a good place to be in.